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Notice to the Consumer: Beware of online obituary ‘piracy’

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is warning families/consumers to be wary of websites hosting obituaries or death notices and taking donations or gifts on behalf of families.

There continue to be websites offering these services (donations, cards, gifts, candles), but the money and gifts donated never go to the families.

The untrustworthy websites copy obituary information from funeral home websites or newspaper notices and repost them on their websites, masquerading as legitimate death announcements. These sites will seek “in memoriam” donations or solicit flower purchases or candle-lighting from unsuspecting friends and family of the deceased.

Consumer protection

Death notices or obituaries hosted by licenced funeral establishments or known local newspapers and media are legitimate places where such services are offered.

Make sure when you are reading a death notice or obituary that it is on a funeral home or news media website. If you see it on a news media website, contact the named funeral establishment directly.

All funeral establishments in Ontario must be licensed by the BAO. You can verify whether funeral establishments are licenced by checking the homepage of their website to see that they have the Licensed by the BAO badge on it.

No sure? Check out the BAO’s online public registry to see whether a business is licensed by the BAO, or email us at licensing@thebao.ca.

TheBAO.ca – We’re here for you.

About the BAO

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is a government delegated authority administering provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Responsible for protection of the public interest, the BAO regulates and supports licensed: funeral establishment operators, directors and preplanners; cemetery, crematorium and alternative disposition operators; transfer service operators; and bereavement sector sales representatives across Ontario. The BAO is wholly funded by licensee fees (not tax dollars).